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Today in History: Saturday, January 27, 2024

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Schlemiel! Schlimazel! “Laverne & Shirley” debuted on ABC in 1976 and rose to the top of the charts from 1977 to 1979, ahead of parent series, “Happy Days. It aired for eight seasons, and spawned an animated series called “Laverne & Shirley in the Army”…Two short-lived series debuted on ABC in 1980: “Battlestar Galactica” spin-off “Galactica 1980” starring Lorne Greene; and the one-hour detective dramedy “Tenspeed and Brown Shoe” starring Ben Vereen and Jeff Goldblum. Airing on the same night was singer Donna Summer‘s first television special; TwiggyDebralee Scott and Robert Guillaume guest starred…Spy adventure “Code Name: Foxfire” starring Joanna Cassidy began as a TV movie on NBC in 1985. The series lasted just eight episodes…Stephen King’s three-part, six-hour miniseries, “Rose Red launched on ABC in 2002…Family sitcom “Davis Rules” starring Randy Quaid and Jonathan Winters premiered on ABC in 1991. Its series premiere aired immediately after Super Bowl XXV, and drew 26.7 million viewers. However, the network canceled the show that spring. CBS picked it up for the 1991-92 and added Bonnie Hunt and Giovanni Ribisi to the cast, but the series officially ended in May 1992…Heather Locklear made her first appearance as advertising executive Amanda Woodward on the Fox’s “Melrose Place” in 1993. Locklear, whose presence spiked the ratings for the prime time soap, would be upped to series regular in season two (credited as “Special Guest Star”) as Woodward purchased the apartment complex and clashed with her employee/tenant Alison Parker (Courtney Thorne-Smith)…Also in 1993, “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues” starring David Carradine and Chris Potter debuted in syndication. The series, a follow-up to Carradine’s “Kung Fu” from 1972-75, ran for four seasons…”Toddlers & Tiaras” debuted on TLC in 2009. Throughout its seven-season run, the docuseries about the world of kids’ beauty pageants scored one successful spinoff: “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo“.

The movie rating system modifies the “M” rating to “PG” in 1970.

“Heartbreak Hotel” was released by Elvis Presley in 1956, which was his first million-selling single…“Introducing the Beatles” album was released in 1964…John Lennon wrote and recorded the classic hit song “Instant Karma” in 1970. Lennon said about the song, “I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch and we’re putting it out for dinner.“… “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973…John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their “Milk & Honey” album in 1984…Whitney Houston performed her famous rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the start of Super Bowl XXV in 1991. Soon after, it was released as a single benefiting the soldiers and families involved in the Persian Gulf War. It peaked at No. 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Houston’s aunt Dionne Warwick amusingly commented that Whitney could generate a hit even from singing the phone book…Singer “Yeah” from Usher and Ludacris was released in 2004. It won the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2005, as well as Billboard Song of the Year.

One of the most thrilling Big Games in NFL history took place in Tampa, Fla. in 1991 for Super Bowl XXV. It was a back-and-forth battle between the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills, with four lead changes throughout. For the last play of the game, Bills placekicker Scott Norwood‘s 47-yard field goal attempt went wide right of the goal post. The Giants won Super Bowl XXV 20-19, earning their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Giants running back Ottis Anderson was the game’s Most Valuable Player. Giants head coach Bill Parcells retired soon after, but re-emerged as an NFL coach with the New England Patriots in 1993. Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick became the Cleveland Browns head coach in 1991 but that stint lasted only five seasons.
Three astronauts aboard Apollo 1 ( Virgil I. GrissomEdward H. White II and Roger B. Chaffee) died in 1967 while still on the launch pad as they were practicing for a two-week mission in space…The Vietnam War formally ended in 1973 when ministers from the United States, North and South Vietnam and the Viet Cong signed an agreement in Paris…Michael Jackson received serious burns to his head in 1984 after his hair caught light while singing his hit “Billie Jean” for a Pepsi Cola commercial in Los Angeles when the special effects went wrong.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actor James Cromwell (“All in the Family”, “Babe”) is 84; ballet dancer-actor Mikhail Baryshnikov is 76; actress Mimi Rogers is 68; comic book writer-illustrator Frank Miller is 66; “Sunday Night Football” commentator Cris Collinsworth is 65; “SportsCenter” anchor Keith Olbermann is also 65; actress Bridget Fonda (“Single White Female”) is 60; actor Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”) is 59; comedian Patton Oswalt (“The King of Queens”) is 55.

Did You Know?
Cindy Williams exited “Laverne & Shirley” two episodes into the final season and filed a $20 million lawsuit against Paramount after they demanded Williams work on her scheduled due date. The case was later settled out of court and Williams was released from her contract.